Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Autumnal Flowers with Lindy Bop*

I'm never a big fan of florals in spring, it just seems too predictable, but when it comes to florals in autumn, I love them! When I saw this 'Audrey' Wild Garden Print Swing Dress* from Lindy Bop it was instant lust! Florals on black is the high glamour goth I dream of.

Dress - Lindy Bop*
Jacket - Old New Look
Boots - ASOS
Gold hairband - Creations by Liv Free


I love to wear girly dresses but still have them feel very 'Kitty'. So stompy glittery boots, a faux leather jacket and dark lipstick were an absolute must. It's the sort of dress you could style in so many different ways, I tend to be more on the alternative spectrum so this is my version!


There are two important things to note about this dress. Number one - it has pockets. Pockets! Love a dress with pockets. Who doesn't?! Number two - this is one of the dresses Lindy Bop has released as part of their new range of size 28 dresses. I'm thrilled to see them expanding, there are currently four dresses available in a size 28, but it's a brand new roll out and there are plans for many more. I can't wait!


It's a lovely silk material, so perfect for a winter wedding with black opaque tights, a jacket and a fascinator. It also has a black belt that comes with it, that also importantly, is the right size for the dress. I've bought vintage style dresses from other shops and while they've increased the size of the dress, they've sent the same belt they would with every size dress, not here, it's the perfect size.


I also have to do a shout out for these boots. ASOS have just started selling up to a UK size 10 in women's styles for shoes and boots and I'm so happy to see a major retailer expand like that. It really gives me hope that one day I might be able to just walk into a high street shop and buy my shoe size off the shelf. Maybe one day. These are part of their wide fit range, and while they are wide enough for my wide feet, they aren't quite wide enough for my plus sized ankles. I can't zip them all the way up, but they are sturdy enough that they stay in the right spot when worn like this, so I can deal with it.


I really love this dress and am already scheming on events I can go to just so I can wear it. It's so lovely and the pockets make it true love.

Much love,
Kitty xxx


*denotes an item gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Curly Girl Method : 6 Months On

I've been following the Curly Girl Method for 6 months now, so I thought it was time for a hair update! I wrote about when I started it here and 2 months in here, and now I've finally got a pretty set routine and feel like my hair is done transitioning it was time to share again. This weekend I had probably the best hair day I've ever had. Also, I totally bleached and coloured my hair because I missed my fun hair!

So, an update on my routine! I co-wash using either Tesco Pro Vitamin B 5 Care & Protect conditioner, or Tesco Pro Vitamin B5 Volume & Shine conditioner. I use these both for my actual co-wash, and as a leave in conditioner as well. They cost about 90p a bottle, and I get through a bottle in about 3 washes. I wash my hair twice a week at the absolute most. Some people spend a fortune on products but so far I'm finding these cheap ones work really well for me! For my product, I find that gel works really well. When my hair is soaking wet I absolutely pile on Tesco Everyday Value Styling Gel. This gel is 30p. Really. 30p. And it's amazing. I've used more expensive gel, but this is my fave! I use a lot to really get coverage and to get a good 'cast', when your hair goes stiff from product.


I tend to wash my hair at night, so I then plop over night in a net, I use these from Salons Direct. I plop how you would with a tshirt, but using the net instead. I then pop a couple of grips behind each ear to keep the net in place because I am a very wiggly sleeper! In the morning my hair isn't 100% dry, but when I take the net off my hair will stay put in what we call 'snakes'. I knew my hair was going to be great when my hair looked like this. Good snakes generally means good curls. I then diffused my hair till it was 100% dry on the cool setting. I never touch my hair till it is 100% dry, this is important! It means less frizz. This then leaves my hair with a cast.


This is a good cast. The wilder the cast, it seems the better the curls. I 'scrunch out the crunch' (SOTC for short) using jojoba oil. I rub some into the palms of my hands and start at the back of my head, scrunching the oil into my hair to break the hard cast. My hair looks ridiculous in the cast, but once it's all scrunched out, this is the end result.


 This is the hair I've always dreamed of. And it's on my head. It's my hair. I have beautiful big ringlets, volume, bounce and shine, my hair is what I always wished it could be. And it's so easy. Magic!

There are a few different options for protecting your hair at night, I'm a wiggler so I tend to use a combination of methods. I sleep on a satin pillow to avoid frizz, this definitely helps me a lot because I know whatever I cover my hair in will usually be lost by the time I wake up, so this minimises the damage. I sleep in a 'buff'. which is an elasticated tube of material. I make sure my hair is totally inside it and that it's pulled down over my forehead so I keep as much volume as possible without crushing my curls. This video shows you how I do this brilliantly. You can also sleep in a 'pineapple', which involves piling all your hair on top of your head and securing it. Rather than using a normal hair elastic, I use a generic version of the invisibobble, or a scrunchie will work too.


My hair isn't very thick, so pineappling doesn't tend to work for me which is why I prefer a buff. Here is my hair right out of a buff with no refresh or work done to it after a night's sleep on the left, and with a little oil to smooth it out on the right.

 

Once you get to grips with the curly girl method, it becomes second nature and every day can be a good hair day. Here's a little before and after to remind you of what a 'good' day was before co-washing. PS. My amazing tiger paws necklace* is by the awesome Sugar & Vice.

 

If you have any questions about my routine do feel free to ask away!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx


*denotes an item gifted to me, in no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Goodbye iPhone, Hello Samsung and GoCustomized*

My phone contract ran out a couple of months ago, and after much thought about what to do, I decided that it was finally time to say goodbye to my iPhone. I've had an iPhone constantly since 2009, but it was the right time to make the switch. I've replaced countless screens on my iPhones, even with a good solid case and tempered glass, and the battery life just hasn't improved like it should over the years and new models. The fixed amount of storage space also left much to be desired, I always had a 16GB phone because anything bigger was just ridiculously expensive on a monthly plan, and generally meant a higher up cost payment as well.


So it was time to say goodbye to my iPhone, and hello to a Samsung Galaxy S8. And I am SO so pleased I made the jump! It took a little bit of getting used to, but it's really user friendly and quick to respond, especially compared to my old iPhone 6. One of the biggest differences I noticed right away is the screen resolution is just incredible in comparison. Everything is so much clearer and has so much more detail than it did on my iPhone. Even PokemonGo looks 10x better!


The other big plus is the battery life is massive compared to any of the Apple products I've used, and you can add extra memory cards to increase your storage. So your storage is literally endless and you can take all the photos you could ever want without ever running out of space. The only slightly weird thing compared to an iPhone is that the fingerprint technology is actually on the back of the phone, next to the camera lens, so you have to be careful not the smear the lens and use your pointer finger instead of a thumb like you might on most other phone models.


My husband has the S7 Edge, and I was surprised to discover that Samsung have changed their charger port in the S8, which means we can't share chargers. It's the sort of thing Apple have done a few times and it's annoyed us both, but for some reason didn't expect from Samsung. It does however have a fast charge when used with the official Samsung charger and cable that takes around an hour and a half to go from flat to 100% charge!


The other thing I needed as soon as I got my new phone, was a new case, because I am incredibly clumsy and wanted to protect it as much as possible. GoCustomized kindly let me design my own Samsung Galaxy S8 Tough Case* with them. You can have any photo printed onto them, so of course I had to opt for one of my favourite photos from our wedding day. It's a photo taken on 35mm film so it is grainy, it's not that it's been printed badly. It's a little paler than the original image, but otherwise very true to the photo I chose.


I opted for the full wrap case to provide the most protection I could, it has a lip that extends above the screen so even when landing face down, the screen doesn't touch the floor at any point. It fits the phone really nicely, and is a mixture of silicone and hard plastic. The buttons all have a silicone covering and work easily through the case. 

I'm in love with my new Samsung, and especially with the high quality photos it takes, and it's mega battery life. If you've been debating making the switch, go for it! I can't recommend it enough.

Much love,
Kitty xxx


*denotes an item gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

My Facial Injury 3 Months On

TW for body image issues.

It's been almost exactly 3 months since I injured my face. For an in depth info about what happened and the immediate aftermath check out this blog so I'm not repeating a lot of the story. When I wrote that it had been a month since the initial injury, and now I'm at just under 3 months. A lot has changed, and a lot hasn't too. When I wrote the first blog I think I was just so happy that I hadn't injured my eye that my brain hadn't processed what had happened properly. Now I've had more time to deal with it and I have to admit, I'm a lot less OK with it than I was.


This photo gives a pretty good representation of what my face looks like now. I have quite a prominent red scar that cuts through my eyebrow, leaving me with a good chunk of eyebrow that no longer grows. That's the easy bit though, because of how it cuts through my eyebrow I've been plucking out the strays hairs that have tried to grow back in underneath the scar because they are really sparse and it just looks a bit odd. My eyebrows were one of my favourite things about myself; I always loved that I didn't over pluck my brows as a teenager so my naturally thick brows survived the early noughties. Not anymore! People often say that eyebrows should be like sisters rather than twins, mine are barely even related at this point.



These are probably the closest before and after photos I can find. It turns out I don't take many photos with me looking directly at the camera. My eyes have physically changed shape, my eye now droops and is still swollen. I don't think it's going to go down at this point. With hindsight it looks like I actually fractured my eye socket in the fall which explains the really bad bruising. I am just about getting to the point where I can comfortably touch my face now, but only just. It's still sore, but not so painful I flinch away. I can't sleep on that side still, but I can lie on it for a little while before it becomes too painful.

One of the side effects I did not anticipate is how hard it is to wear makeup now. My lower eyelashes touch my face at all times so I get constant transfer from them. My upper eyelid is so swollen my eyelashes no longer curl upwards, and even when I curl them they don't have the right angle to them. So if you have any good cruelty free recommendations for mascara that does not shift, please send me them because I'm really struggling! The swelling also means that when I pull certain faces I develop a crease that runs along the length of my eyebrow underneath it.


It's strange not to recognise your face when you catch sight of it in the mirror. I've cried over it, more than I'd like to admit. And I think admitting to myself that I'm not OK with the changes to my face is important, my feelings are valid and I shouldn't push them away. I've spent a lot of time telling myself that I had no right to be so upset because people go through so much worse, and experience a lot more change to their bodies and faces in accidents. I told myself I had no right to write about what happened and how I feel because people have it worse. But my being upset does not minimise anyone else's experience, and I'm allowed to hurt. My face changed, and I didn't want it too, and that hurts.

My face took me a long time to learn to love. I never considered myself pretty, I had way too many teeth as a teenager and had braces for years. I have a round face, a fat face, and it took a long time to consider myself to be attractive. I tend to think of myself as cute, because I know people like my smile, and it makes them smile. I don't think of myself as pretty, and now my face has changed once again and I don't know how to feel about it. And for now, that's OK. Self love is a journey, and this is just a speed bump I've hit along the way.

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Brides, Get Your Arms Out!

While Stu and I got married last June, I have to admit, I'm still a bit wedding obsessed and I'm in a few wedding Facebook groups. One of the things I see crop up over and over again is brides looking for their dream wedding dresses and panicking about having their arms on show. But brides, I'm hear to tell you you can have your arms out and look amazing, and not even think about them on the day!


I have big arms. And I do mean BIG arms. I always have done. My arms have stretchmarks and uneven skin tone, and a crease in them. They aren't smooth, and they certainly aren't small. And I rocked bare arms on my wedding day and felt wonderful and beautiful.


For a long time I really struggled with my arms, and I used to keep them covered at all times. I was convinced everyone was staring at them all the time, and that my arms were all people noticed about me. One summer it was just too hot to keep my arms covered up, so I wore a vest top instead. And you know what, the world didn't end. No one even noticed. So I started wearing sleeves less and less, and found that over time, I cared less and less too.


When it came to planning my wedding dress my first instinct was to have sleeves so that my arms weren't on show. I initially planned lacy three quarter length sleeves, and a totally different dress, thinking that I just couldn't possibly wear the style of dress I'd always dreamed of. Once I actually booked my dressmaker however, that all changed and I just decided to go for it. It was my wedding day, and my wedding dress, why not just go for it?! So I did, I decided to have a purple version of the dress of my dreams, the wedding dress from the Guns n Roses music video for November Rain. Which meant legs out, and arms out.


So I got my arms out. And no one cared. Not even me. I was the most beautiful I'd ever been on my wedding day, and not even once did I feel self conscious about my arms. I was far too busy having the best day of my life to care about my arms! I'm so glad I decided to ditch the sleeves, it ended up being a beautiful summer's day and I'd have been too hot and just plain uncomfortable all day in sleeves. 


My arms didn't stop me from looking and feeling amazing on my wedding day, they were in fact something I never thought about even once. Don't feel like you have to cover yourself up to be beautiful, I didn't and I'm so happy because of that decision. When I think about the dress that almost was, versus my dream dress, I'm so pleased I didn't settle because I was scared of what people would think.

No one looked at my arms, they looked at my smiling happy face and told me I was beautiful instead. (I mean hell, they probably looked at my boobs a bit too because where the hell did they come from and where have they been since?!). The only person your arms bother is you, your loved ones will see you in your wedding dress and think wow, and your partner will fight back tears on seeing you for the first time. So go for it and get your arms out!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

PS. My wedding photos are by the incredible ClickClickBang Photography.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Win a Manon Baptiste Bardot Dress from Navabi!*

When it comes to brands who always get it right, Navabi are right at the top of my list. They consistently produce truly beautiful garments for plus size bodies and they really care about the plus size community. They are proud to represent us and are always trying to be the change they want to see in the fashion industry. I adore them!


When Navabi asked me to not only review one of their new pieces, but also to give you guys the chance to win that same garment, you know I leapt at the opportunity! I ummed and aahed over their new collection, and then when I saw this stunning Manon Baptiste Bardot Dress* I knew it was the one. A bardot dress is something I consider to be a staple look for me, and the print on this is just everything.


A lot of bardot dresses gradually slide up your shoulders and need re-adjusting all the time. Not this dress! The quality of the fabric and the weight of the dress mean it doesn't move. I was so impressed, it's a very rare thing in a bardot design!


It hits me just above mid calf, so it's a pretty long dress. Most midi length dresses aren't true midis on me, but if you're a taller babe you'll be just fine! The fabric is clearly incredibly high quality and it is so soft on the skin. And the print, just wow! It's a floral design but it's really something else, everyone who has seen me in this dress has commented on how gorgeous the print is. It's so striking and unusual. You could easily wear this to a summer wedding, or dress it down more like I have here.


So! How can you win this dress too? That's easy, just enter using the widgit below, and good luck!**

Much love,
Kitty xxx


*denotes an item gifted to me for review purposes. In no way does this impact upon my opinions which are entirely my own.

**UK only. If entering by following an account you must be following when the giveaway ends. If entering by tweeting about the giveaway the tweet must be visible when the giveaway ends. You may be disqualified if you are found to have entered the giveaway falsely.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

My First Lady V London Lyra

Sometimes you see an item of clothing that you just absolutely have to have. I had that moment recently when I saw Lady V London had released a series of new prints in their classic Lyra design. Every single person I've ever seen buy a Lyra dress has absolutely loved theirs, but I've held off buying one for a while not sure if they would suit me or not. Then I saw this print and bam, before I knew what had happened I'd bought it and it was mine.


Skulls and flowers. There couldn't be a more perfect Kitty-esque print! I tend to be a sales shopper, but I was happy to spend £45 on this beauty because I own several Lady V London dresses and I knew the quality would be immaculate. I was not wrong! It's lush. The print is called 'Gorgeously Gothic' and unfortunately as I write this it is out of stock in every single size, despite only being released a few days ago! I'm so glad I snapped it up when I did. They have an amazing new range of prints, including donuts which is just so so cute.


The only thing that had put me off ordering a Lyra before is that everyone I see rock one has a much more traditional hour glass figure than me. I don't have a small waist and big hips, I have a big belly, and I have a small bust. So not the body type I usually see in these. However, I am really happy to report that it fit like a dream! I was concerned there would be gaping at the bust but there wasn't, but it was also clear that there was plenty of room for a much larger bust than mine. The arms are a loose flowing fit that is great for summer.


While I'm wearing leggings in this look, I would happily wear this bare legged. It hits me just at knee level, it was just chilly when I was shooting the dress! I'm 5ft 11 so it would usually be more of a traditional midi length. The crossover section hits me directly under the bust and ties at the back, so you can nip the dress in to accentuate the full skirt.


Now owning a Lyra, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for more fantastic prints I can get my mitts on. I totally see why everyone loves them so much!

Much love,
Kitty xxxx

Our Trip To Cornwall : Colourpop Short and Sweet

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Our Trip To Cornwall

For our first wedding anniversary in June Stu and I really debated about where to go on holiday. We aim to go away every year for our anniversary, but this year we had no idea where to go. We were chatting about it with some of our friends in the pub who jokingly suggested that maybe we could go to Cornwall with them as maybe the timing would be right.... and it turned out that they were away for our anniversary and it was exactly within budget, and Ashen our dog could come too! So we turned our holiday into an adventure with some of our dearest which made it even better.




We stayed in an adorable studio log cabin at Leycroft Valley in Perranporth. It's a couple of miles from the beach, but nestled in a forest. Totally not what I expected but so beautiful, such a lush contrast! Every cabin at Leycroft Valley has it's own hot tub on a private decking area, and the decking area is secure so if you take your pooch they can roam free on it. I'd been a bit concerned that it wouldn't have a good gate on it, but it had a gate with a solid latch so Ashen had his freedom and whenever we were in we left the patio doors open.


Ashen loved the cabin. We took his bed and his favourite toy, Clive the alligator, and his blanket with us. He adventured with us every day and then was so worn out he just wanted to snooze all evening. Most nights after trips out we went in the hot tub and he joined us sat out on the decking. He just likes to be in our company. The hot tub for our cabin was designed for 2 people, a sort of triangular shape, you could maybe have gotten 3 people in at a push but it would have been cosy. Our friends had rented a bigger cabin with a separate bedroom and theirs was a more traditional size hot tub that was fine for 4 people.



 

We went to the Healey Cider Farm where they brew Rattler after Stu developed a taste for it. It had all sorts of adorable creatures, including goats that I think are about the cutest thing ever. In a Big Deal for me sort of moment, I not only went near a shire horse, but I stroked it. I'm terrified of horses and this horses towered over me, but I hid behind Stu and went over after much encouragement and was brave enough to stroke it briefly! I mean, it then had a snorting noise and I ran away but it totally counts as extreme bravery.



We didn't have the best weather while we were there. In fact a couple of days were torrential rain and I was very glad I took leggings with me and a couple of pleather jackets because I really did need them. Our actual wedding anniversary was the only day we had truly lovely weather. It was sunshine all day and we went to The Watering Hole on Perranporth beach and had cheesy chips and gin and it was a perfect chilled out evening.


Ashen loved the beach, he always does. One of the days we took him down it was so windy it was unreal. We'd had the genius idea to get ice cream and eat it on the beach. So Ashen ended up eating my very sandy peanut butter ice cream which he thought was the best thing ever. (I specifically ordered an ice cream Ashen could eat so I could share it with him, such a dog lady)



Honestly these photos of Ashen in the wind are now my all time favourite photos of Ashen. He looks hilarious and they make me laugh every time I see them. His little beard blowing in the wind! Cornwall is incredibly dog friendly so it made taking him and our friend's dog Snoop everywhere really easy. Everywhere provided water bowls and seemed to be happy for your pooch to come with you, bar actual restaurants which is fair enough.


We ate out most nights, and ended up finding a real treasure of an Italian/Fish restaurant that we ate in 2 days in a row we loved it so much. If you go to Perranporth all 4 of us highly recommend Del Mar. So many veggie options, so much fresh fish, it was a total delight. It's not the fanciest looking place but wow, some of the best food I have ever eaten. 


Despite the weather, we had an amazing time. I injured myself twice falling over on the wet decking, and fell down the stairs to our cabin, literally days after I had my facial injury when my stitches were still fresh. What I have learned is that I am not designed to walk on wet floor. No one else had any trouble, including our friend who had recently had a major knee operation. I am just the clumsiest human we've all ever met. We'd never done a holiday with friends before barring music festivals, and it was brilliant fun. The only things I'd have changed were that we'd gone for 2 weeks instead of 1, and I wish the bed had been a king size not a double.

Occasional, sand, our pooches, alcohol and good company, what more could you ask for?

Much love,
Kitty xxxxx